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VIDEO: Nearly 100 Residents Evacuated After Gas Main Breaks

Contractor ruptured the main while digging a hole for a protective column.

A contractor digging a hole at an apartment complex ruptured a gas main on Friday morning, bringing a host of fire vehicles to the scene.

Just after 10 a.m., a worker from D.P.M. Fence and Home Improvement was clearing dirt for a protective column in front of one of the buildings in the Avalon Oaks West complex on Evergreen Drive when he struck the gas line.

was dispatched to the scene around 10:30 a.m. Because of fears of carbon monoxide issues, between 60 and 100 residents were evacuated from five buildings.

“We took all the precautions we needed to,” said Wilmington Fire Lt. Joe McMahon. “All the people were out, the gas company was out with all its meters to check to building. It’s just a different set of circumstances than a building fire.”

Multiple ambulances from Wilmington and surrounding towns along with other mutual aid vehicles were called to the area as a precaution. McMahon said firefighters hooked up several hand pumps and used hoses to safely clear the gas.

“We just kind of surround and drowned until the gas company came to shut it down,” said McMahon. The scene was cleared by about noon. “Everything is wrapped up, the gas company is here to take care of the problem, and the contractor will be dealt with by the proper authorities.”

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